Defense Minister Benny Gantz tells a class of cadets that Tehran’s nuclear sites could be hit within two or three years
Israel could launch a military offensive targeting Iranian nuclear sites within two to three years, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told a class of Israeli Air Force graduates on Wednesday, boasting that the country had “has significantly increased its preparedness in recent years and is preparing for the possibility of an attack on Iran.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid said such an attack would be a response to “threats that we consider existential“, assuring the new pilots of Israel’s military superiority while warning the country”enemies” this “no Israeli government will accept Iran going nuclear. If we have to act, we will act.”
Lapid was replaced by Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter’s newly elected government was sworn in on Thursday. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister until he was ousted last year, Netanyahu is a committed Iranian hawk who has predicted the Islamic Republic will have a nuclear bomb within three years since 1992.
However, Israel’s own military intelligence forecast does not include Tehran receiving the bomb anytime soon. Instead, the country “will continue on its current path of slow progressin the nuclear field, predicted a report seen Sunday by Israel Hayom, adding that “Iran will only change its policy if extreme sanctions are imposed on it; he could then decide to accelerate enrichment at the military level.”
While Iran revealed last month that it was producing enriched uranium at 60% purity at two of its nuclear power plants, weapons grade requires 90% purity. Tehran has long insisted its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature, although the head of its Atomic Energy Organization claimed in August that they had the technical capability to build a bomb if they wanted to.
While some of the partners in the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal, which limited Iran’s uranium enrichment to 4%, have made efforts to revive the deal, Tehran has accused the US United to block negotiations even as Israel urged Washington to abandon the deal altogether. Israel has vowed to maintain its hostile stance regardless, insisting that Tehran is determined to “build a nuclear weapon that endangers the existence of Israel” and any potential deal would just help them accomplish that.
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